Not Quite a Forgotten War Yet


The Houthi drone strike on a UAE oil facility near the Abu Dhabi airport that suddenly changed the calculus of the war and sent shivers through the oil market was in fact the Houthis’ way of reminding the world that the conflict in their country, which much of the international community has already largely forgotten, is still far from over. Quite predictably, Saudi coalition bombers lit up the sky over the Yemeni capital Sanaa in response; killing at least 20 people including, allegedly, Houthi leader Major General Abdullah Qassem al-Junaid and wiping out the entire family of a former army officer.
This has become just another one of those wars that have gone nowhere in years with the only constant being the killing and suffering of innocent civilians in the targeted country; which in this case is Yemen. Already about 233,000 people have been killed in that country, including at least 131,000 from “indirect causes” like lack of proper medical treatment, hunger, and starvation. This is appalling because, unlike some other wars where international aid outfits make enough noise for the world to at least know part of the truth, not many such things have come out of this one partly because of the blanket ban imposed by the Saudi coalition on any sort of independent coverage of it.
The fact remains, though, that this is also just another flashpoint for the great Middle Eastern rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran. It’s put Pakistan in a very awkward position because it has very close relations with, and is deeply indebted to, one and shares a very long border with the other. Islamabad has tried to find a way out of the awkwardness by offering to mediate between the two, but only to be rebuffed very strongly by at least one of them. All it can do, then, is try and rally the international community into pressuring both sides to stop backing their proxies and ending the war in Yemen. For the Saudis to say, at this stage, that they aim to make Yemen part of the GCC serves only to further escalate hostilities, which serves nobody’s interest at the end of the day because the war has become a very painful stalemate.
Now that the world has been reminded that the war in Yemen is still raging and taking innocent lives and nothing more, the bloc of the more powerful and influential countries is expected to finally put its foot down and ensure that all hostilities cease sooner rather than later.